Can You Pass the EPPP Without Grit?

Grit is the passion that drives us to press through our short-term goals, like passing the EPPP, so that we can achieve our long-term goals, like becoming a psychologist. It has been said that grit is all you need when it comes to accomplishment. Though John Wayne may disagree, when it comes to achieving goals, it takes more than just true grit.

Psychology Today’s Michelle McQuaid points out why grit isn’t everything.

She explains that

“without the strengths of curiosity, optimism, social intelligence and self-control grit can lead you in jobs you aren’t suited for, stuck on ideas that will never work and in relationships you should have let go of.”

Ultimately, McQuaid is saying that grit must be guided by our passions, otherwise we’re stuck achieving a goal that we aren’t genuinely interested in. Her research encompasses an interview with Professor Angela Duckworth of University of Pennsylvania and author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. Duckworth explains why success needs more than grit.

“[Duckworth suggests that] grit is just one aspect of character, along with other strengths such as hope, optimism, social intelligence, curiosity, and gratitude. She suggests your strengths can be classified into three dimensions of character – intrapersonal (strengths of will), interpersonal (strengths of heart) and intellectual (strengths of mind).”

Success, according to McQuaid’s research and interview with Duckworth, is a product of character development. Passing the EPPP, therefore, is more than just having grit. In order to successfully study for the EPPP, you must first be optimistic and believe that you can get a passing score, you must secondly be disciplined to take the necessary step, and, finally, use the power of gratitude. As TSM’s Robin Phillips put it one of his series on gratitude:

“Gratitude is not a type of feel-good escapism whereby we tell ourselves that things are good when they are not; rather it is learning to “see” our life in a new way and to perceive the good that may be obscured by the familiar context of the ordinary.”

Most of Duckworth’s stance on grit is geared toward success in the workplace. She suggests three ways to use grit effectively in the workplace and we’ve adapted them towards successful EPPP prep:

  1. Look at failure differently

Failure is an opportunity for improvement, not the end of an attempt. Perhaps this is not your first attempt at the EPPP. It can be discouraging to fail and begin the process of studying all over again. Consider it, though, an opportunity to improve your learning process. The Taylor Study Method, in fact, was born as the result of failed EPPP attempts. Had I not experienced failure, I could not help others succeed.

  1. Pursue your passion

Remember your end goal. Ask yourself why you’re taking the EPPP and reignite your passion for psychology. What are you going to accomplish by becoming a psychologist? Remembering why will give purpose to your goal of passing the EPPP.

  1. Find balance

There is a middle ground between burnout and procrastination.  Find a work/study balance that will give you the energy to keep going and the discipline to have successful study sessions.


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